Some Ways Narcissists Use Shame

Narcissists love using shame as a weapon.  Not only does it make them feel superior, but it takes attention off of their bad behavior while simultaneously discrediting their victim.  It also makes a victim easy to control.  Shame is a very effective weapon.


There are various ways narcissists use shame.

Narcissists reinvent the past.  They tell stories differently than they actually happened.  They either claim to be the reason someone succeeded or twist the story so the other person looks stupid, like a failure, etc.  Since narcissists speak with such certainty, this can make a victim doubt their own memories & feel ashamed for something they didn’t even do.


They tell embarrassing stories about their victim.  Narcissistic parents in particular seem to love this one.  They tell stories that the victim would rather people don’t know about.  My mother used this one with me, telling stories (usually in front of other people) of when I was a child & did stupid things.  When I said I didn’t want her discussing these stories, she would shame me for how I felt, saying I was wrong & shouldn’t feel the way I did.  It took a long time to realize that I wasn’t wrong- my feelings were just & this was nothing but an attempt on her part to make me feel shame.


Playing the role of victim.  No matter what a narcissist does to a victim, they have the amazing ability to spin the situation in their favor, so they look like the victim, & the real victim is abusive.  This can create shame in a victim very easily unless the victim is well aware of this game.


Religion can become a weapon.  No true narcissist can be a Christian at the same time.  Narcissism is diametrically opposed to the beliefs of Christianity.  However, that doesn’t mean a narcissist won’t use Christianity to shame victims.  Growing up, my mother told me I was going to hell for how badly I treated her.   Later in life, a flying monkey said I was a bad Christian for treating my parents as I do & claiming to be a Christian.  Thankfully, I also have a good enough relationship with God to know what they said was utter nonsense.  If I didn’t, that comment would have caused a great deal of hurt & doubting my salvation!


“I was only joking!”  “You’re too sensitive!”  Nasty comments said to a victim followed by, “I was just kidding!”  “Can’t you take a joke?”  “You’re so sensitive!”  & the like are also designed to make a victim feel ashamed for being righteously angry that they were offended by the narcissist’s cruel words.  The goal is to make you feel ashamed of yourself for not realizing the narcissist was only kidding (which they weren’t) or being so sensitive you were offended by their “joke.”  Don’t fall for it.  You aren’t wrong!


Comparisons.  If you & the narcissist have done similar things, you can guarantee the narcissist has done it better, at least if you listen to her side of the story.  Everything with narcissists is a pissing contest (sorry to be crude- that’s the best term I know of to describe this situation).  If you found a cure for cancer, they found it first, but didn’t want to brag like you’re doing!  See what I mean?  If they can make you feel badly for not being as good or as talented as them, that sows a seed for shame in you.


Talking down to others.  Even a narcissist that isn’t overly intelligent can make a very intelligent victim feel stupid, & ashamed of being so stupid.  Narcissists love to talk in circles & use big words (often that they don’t know the proper definition of & not in context).  If you leave a conversation with a narcissist & your head is swimming, it’s not because you’re stupid.  It’s because narcissists are masters of talking in circles, which is also known as word salad.


Acting as if the narcissist is the adult, the victim the child.  This is very common among narcissistic parents.  They’re all about keeping their children, children, no matter their child’s age.  A person who thinks they’re immature & not wise like the narcissist is very easy to control.  Narcissistic parents may continue using a tone of voice that intimidated their children when they were growing up well into that child’s adulthood.  They may call victims immature or mock them with phrases like, “You’re such a baby/child!”  “You’re so immature!”  “You need to grow up!”


Remember this post if you’re faced with these behaviors.  You do NOT need to feel shame!  No one should put that on you, but narcissists will try to.  If they do, never accept it.  Ask God to tell you the truth.  Also, look at your situation objectively & you will realize the truth.  Write about it in a journal, too, since writing often gives a great deal of clarity that speaking can’t.  You can deal with this unhealthy behavior in a healthy way!


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

20 responses to “Some Ways Narcissists Use Shame

  1. ibikenyc

    The Story Of My Life!

    My mother’s absolute, hands-down favourite thing was, when talking to someone else, to put that smirky little smile on her face, lower (the volume of) her voice, lean closer to them, and say, “Well; ibikenyc’s kind of / very / immaTURE. . . ”

    Yes, well; inasmuch as I was barely allowed to wipe my own butt and N-E-V-E-R got to make a mistake without its being added to the Litany Repertoire, what else could / would be expected?

    I am well into middle age and still catch myself thinking of myself in this way. In fact, I have lately been working on banishing this exact dynamic from my head / frame of reference / beliefs about myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know I’ve asked this before.. how in the **** are you sane?! Growing up with this & now living with Mr Happy, I don’t get it. It’s a miracle you’re able to function at all! That kind of abuse is debilitating to a child. I know- my mother was much the same way. Sheesh…

      Liked by 2 people

      • ibikenyc

        Thank you for the Validation!

        You’re assuming that I AM sane; LOLOLOL! 😉

        There is a very long and somewhat detailed story behind this, but I have come to genuinely believe — and FEEL — that the Series Of Misfortunes (the worst of which was literal homelessness) with which I was plagued were / are all in fact a HUGE blessing in disguise. I find myself these days with a humbling level of self-awareness and gratitude that I couldn’t have gotten in any other way.

        (Make sure you give yourself credit, too: Your throwing-up doesn’t sound like any bed of roses, either.)

        Liked by 2 people

        • You’re welcome for the validation!

          LOL!! You are quite sane, my friend. 🙂

          Wow.. your attitude is very inspiring. You go girl!!! ❤

          lol My "throwing up" (love how you phrase definitely wasn't a bed of roses. Maybe a bed of poison ivy & sticker bushes is more like it.. lol

          Liked by 2 people

          • ibikenyc

            Awww. . . I don’t even know what to say.

            I am almost tearing up.

            Glad about it, because I’ve been wondering lately if I’m so damaged I can’t even cry anymore.

            You’re the best! Thank you for all your support and your wonderful blog and how you reveal yourself 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

            • I totally get feeling that way but you really aren’t that damaged! I’m sure you have plenty of issues because we all do after narcissistic abuse, but you are very intelligent, kind, caring, funny… hardly damaged beyond repair. Sometimes crying is hard.. I’ve always been one to cry at the drop of a hat, but even so, there are times I can’t. It’s like you’ve cried so much there aren’t tears left to shed over certain things, I guess.

              You’re very sweet.. thank you so much for what you said!! My day is now made! ❤

              Liked by 2 people

  2. Blame and Shame. In my experience, these are two of the narcissist’s favorite tools.

    They break you, and then they hate you for being broken. Which makes about as much sense as stabbing someone in the gut, and then shaming them for bleeding all over the carpet.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on Emerging From The Dark Night and commented:
    Shame is the foremost weapon in the narcissist’s arsenal. Dont fall for it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve been subjected to every one of these things. One of the most painful was when, at family dinners, even my siblings would participate in dredging up embarrassing incidents from my past with smiles on their faces. And when my discomfort became obvious they’d tell me that I had no sense of humor because I didn’t find their comments amusing. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve often compared my FOO to a pack of wild dogs that turn on a weak or injured pack member.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s